Arrow Season 4 Episode 18 – TV Review
I wonder, if I hadn’t given up on The Walking Dead a season and a half ago, would I be more insulted by its episode this week, or by this one?
And who knew a Felicity-lite episode of Arrow could be so infuriating?
TL;DR Laurel is killed for real real, not for play play, by Damien, and the only character I actually cared about is outta here; Diggle is blind to Andy’s betrayals, causing fights between him and Oliver; flashback Oliver and OSG try to demolish the Cave of Ordeals with Black Boss still inside; the Arrow subreddit is a dark and upsetting place right now.
So we’re done with our villain of the week funtimes, and it’s back to grimdark with Damien Darhk. Andy reveals to Diggle and the Super Friends that he’s been hit up by Malcolm to do some work for Damien. Diggle unquestioningly believes Andy’s altruism, but Oliver’s suspicions start mounting when Andy’s tips lead to Damien’s magic idol being stolen, and it looks like Andy is trying to help get it returned to Damien, who is still in prison. Meanwhile, Ruve wins the mayoral election basically by default, and offers Laurel a promotion to District Attorney. Quentin thinks she should say no, so she can continue on as the Black Canary, but Oliver thinks she should take it and do more for the city with the power of a DA. Meanwhile, Thea’s exhausting indecision about whether or not she hates Malcolm returns, as she flubs a chance to kill him. Everything converges as Damien stages a prison riot/hostage situation. When the Super Friends swoop in, Thea engages in a duel with Malcolm and loses; Andy reveals that yes, he is a slimy snake, and helps Damien complete his magic idol; and, with his powers returned, Damien impales Laurel, keeping his promise to Quentin that he would kill her if he betrayed him. Laurel is rushed to hospital and recovers from surgery just long enough to spruik Oliver and Felicity’s relationship with her nigh-dying words, and then dies. For real. And in Lian Yu flashbacks, Oliver and OSG free the slaves and kill most of the guards, and then detonate explosives to collapse the Cave of Ordeals. Black Boss, having found the idol, murders his last straggling goons to steal enough soul power to try to withstand it.
Oh, and apparently I hadn’t put together that Black Boss’ idol and Damien’s idol are the same idol. Because I’m stupid.
You know, I was with this episode pretty much the whole way through. I was glad that we were finally focusing on Damien. I was enjoying the renewed focus on Laurel, greatly helped by the absence of Felicity. And the Diggle/Oliver feud over Andy was predicated on Diggle’s sudden retard-level stupidity, but a bro fight between the two is always compelling enough.
And I was even on board with Laurel’s “death” at the end. I thought it was way too suspicious that Laurel leans in for a last request of Oliver, but then instead of seeing it, we cut to a crash team flying into the room and Oliver kind of giving an “iunno” about what happened.
Yeah, they sold the shit out of her death pronouncement by the doctor, but this felt like textbook faked death. Like Roy’s last season.
But then I read the Word of God, and all that good will dissipated.
It’s not enough that Arrow has flayed itself on the altar of Olicity for two seasons, but now the only viable competition for Felicity’s spot as Oliver’s love interest is killed off. And without much fanfare.
Which means that, as The CW renewed everything, Felicity is either back in the love interest game. Or we’re going to get a new lady to fill that hole.
Because the only other principal female cast member is Thea.
Why I hate this episode:
I’m a Katie Cassidy fan. You know it. And yes, Laurel has been a bit of a burden on Arrow ever since Felicity got the nod from Oliver’s penis, but it was still a chance to see Katie Cassidy in action. And she even ditched the stupid wig. So to have Laurel killed off by Damien “I have no motivation and my name is literally all the character development you’re gonna get out of me” Darhk is appalling. At least Tommy got killed (indirectly) by his father.
And what’s left now? Like I said, Laurel was the only believable love interest that could replace Felicity. And let’s not pretend that a CW show with a twenty-two episode season order is going to have a lead character without a love interest. Felicity’s back in it, baby.
The bro-down between Oliver and Diggle is satisfyingly tense, but it hinges on Diggle being so ridiculously fucking blind to Andy’s villainy. With four seasons under his belt, Diggle should be better at this stuff by now.
During their confrontation, Diggle slams Oliver by saying Felicity broke up with him because of his self-pity and self-righteousness. Umm, I’m pretty sure Felicity dumped Oliver because of her own self-righteousness about him not consulting her when making the right decision for the safety of his son.
Why did the Super Friends reassemble the idol after Vixen broke it?
I’m tired of Thea and Malcolm’s back and forth. Just kill him. I’m over it.
There’s a moment when OSG criticises Oliver for being cruel enough to suggest burying a man alive. Bitch, this is Black Boss we’re talking about. It’s okay to kill him. Shut up.
Oh, and except for the last request we don’t get to witness, Laurel uses her final minutes in this life to acknowledge that Felicity is the love of Oliver’s life. I feel like I ask it all the time, but are the writers really that out of touch with the fans?
But it’s not all bad:
At least Katie Cassidy is free to be in a better CW show now. I’ve got my fingers crossed for the Melrose Place reboot’s long-awaited second season. Ashlee Simpson isn’t doing anything important, right?
And Laurel’s predicament provides two potent and appreciated emotional moments. The first is when Oliver comes in to see her after her surgery. Stephen Amell manages to pull out a little emotion for once, and his reaction to her concession that she may not have been the love of his life, but he was hers, is darling. Shame about the Olicity shilling.
The other put tears in my eyes, and it’s when Quentin arrives at the hospital, having been told earlier she was fine, and it’s too late. Watching him physically collapse in grief at yet another daughter’s death (Sara died multiple times. For extra tragedy) is devastating.
Damien hams it up a lot, and I must say, I haven’t tired of it. Yes, it means that he’s a little zero-dimensional as a character, but fun is fun.
And his reason for killing Laurel made logical sense. His deal with Quentin to not murder her was broken when Quentin testified. So Laurel’s death may be a disgusting slap in the face to the fans, but it is justified in-universe.
Oliver finds out that he got a forty-eight percent write-in vote during the election, regardless of his withdrawal from the race. So Ruve may have been elected, but she isn’t approved by the people.
Oh, and Thea falters at the critical moment, but every time she gets a blade to Malcolm’s throat is a time closer to when she’ll actually stick it in. Keep trying.